One thing that haunts many beginners when they start inline skating is the fear of fall. The possibility of getting hurt while practicing jumps and newer tricks are constantly deluding the mind and interfering in the course of learning confidently.
Many find it apprehensive others simply try to make it less fearful. However, one thing that you must understand as a beginner is that falling is a part and parcel of the learning process. You may not completely avoid it, but you can always stay cautious and embrace a decent fall.
More importantly, you must learn to focus and not worry about falling. It is easier said than done. However, a little self-introspection and valuable tips from the professionals may help you overcome the fear and develop more confidence in the sport.
Some days you may perform flawlessly, other times you may land amazing jumps and your performance may fluctuate between sessions. On some days, a nasty fall may hurt, however, continuous practice will not only help you overcome the fear of fall but also assist in gaining the confidence to stride self-assured.
Set the Foundation Right
The first and foremost thing you need to focus on to overcome the fear of falls is to maintain proper health, both physically and mentally. I must admit that constant falls while learning a new trick are a source of frustration and tension.
But the trick to victory is to get up, pull yourself together, and try one more time until you are proficient. Eventually, you will figure out the right stance and appropriate momentum required to perform the trick without a fall.
Remember, to keep your body relaxed and ready for the trick. Any hesitation, if even in your mind from a fear of fall, may delay the response time required for a successful attempt eventually resulting in a fall indeed. Remember, the human mind responds to situations by the thoughts you nurture at the time.
So, you must act upon your negative thoughts to workaround potential pitfalls in your thought patterns. Focus on more productive thoughts about balance and stability to overcome your fear of fall.
As for physical wellbeing; eat enough food, sleep well, drink enough water, and practice more and more to overcome any inconsistencies in your performance and learning curve.
If you experience any pain or discomfort, it is advisable to get yourself checked and cleared by a qualified medical professional before you hit the rink on a pair of rollerblades.
If you feel fearful about hurting yourself in case you fall, it is appropriate to use proper safety gear including crash pads to protect the soft tissue and help mitigate the impact of falls.
Many beginners prefer to avoid the stigma of wearing safety pads and a helmet, but trust my words for it, you should invest in a good quality safety gear if you are afraid of falling or hitting your head. It will help you feel more confident while performing your tricks.
It is a common observation that when the rollerbladers are unsure of the tricks or afraid of falling, they suffer the worse falls. However, when you are healthy, confident, and take necessary precautions, you are more willing and committed to performing a trick and hence more likely to succeed.
Identify the Problem
When you take necessary precautions and invest in protective gear, your mind feels relieved from the anxiety about hurting yourself from a potential fall.
Here is an article Best Protective Gear For Rollerblading. I have spent a ton of time testing and researching for best protection so you can find my best picks.
The next step is to focus on improving your consistency in the performance of the tricks. Identify the issues you may experience in performing the tricks. Do you need to learn to maintain a better stance or should you focus on maintaining balance? Narrow down your problem. Identify a specific reason for the inconsistencies, if any such as your head position, approach pattern, overall stance, or lack of body awareness.
Are you not able to perform specific tricks that require a particular body positioning or there is a flaw in your posture that is affecting your performance in every trick. Is the inconsistency resulting from a long vacation or short break? Or you are having difficulty in understanding a specific trick.
Sometimes, you may need help in identifying the root of a problem. Your coach may provide you the professional guidance to help you work out the problem and find a solution.
Sometimes, the athletes overgeneralize a fall as a part of their identity making it even more difficult to get back on track. Once you identify a flaw, you can target the problem, and develop the confidence to make it right. Rest is all about practice and resilience.
Sometimes even with best preparation you still can fall just because of bad weather conditions. I have written an article How to Rollerblade In The Rain And Not Fall On Your Face? I have put mu insights how to prepare for bad weather and enjoy rollerskating even in the rain.
Get the Fundamentals Right
Make certain you get your fundamentals right. If your core is wobbly, your axis is not good, and your rotation position isn’t compact, this may affect your performance of the tricks negatively. Identify the issues and start working on your fundamentals to neutralize any inconsistencies. A strong foundation will help you build better confidence.
With sound fundamentals, you will be more confident in performing the tricks without a fall. Work as per the guidance of your coach. Try to improve in small steps. Exercise as much as you can. Focus on improving your skills. Practice purposefully. Focus on making corrections until the tricks become automatic.
Learn the Right Way to Fall
One thing you must realize and understand at the very onset of your training sessions is that some times a fall is irresistible. Once you understand the possibility of a fall, you take the necessary precautions and learn to skate safely. More importantly, you should understand the tactics of a safe fall. Here are some things you should know if a fall is likely to happen [source]:
- Falling backward may injure your head, spine, back, tailbone, and hips.
- Falling forward may injure your face and facial parts.
- The best tactic for a safe fall is to bend your body forward keeping your head, arms, and ribcage straight up, and gradually hit the ground using the side of your buttocks and thighs. This will absorb the majority of the immediate impact and prevent any potential injury to the fragile tailbone area.
- Never use your hands to break a fall as it may result in a fracture to your wrists. Wearing wrist pads may reduce the potential injury but repeatedly using this method may result in a bad habit that comes into play whenever you fall.
- Always wear a helmet because of the probability of hitting your head during a fall is far more likely. Wearing good quality protective gear is the first mandatory step to work around your feal of falls.
- Remember, there are no great falling techniques, but a decent fall keeps you alert, conscious, and unhurt. You may have bruises but no major abrasions, lumps, or broken bones.
Practice the Art of Falling
The most workable technique to overcome the fear of falling is to practice the art of falling itself to fall safe and gracefully. Remember, a fall is imperative when your skates are in motion. You may stumble, drop, or fall. But the following tricks can help you fall as gracefully as possible:
- Understand the motion of fall without wearing rollerblades.
- Understand the motion of fall with your rollerblades when you are not actually rolling. You may practice the motion on a carpet or grassy patch.
- Try to practice a fall when skating in slow motion.
- Once you are through, you may practice a fall when rolling at a fast pace.
- Develop a repeated practice sequence that you can execute during every skating session.
- Learn to roll with every fall to prevent floor burns, road rashes, and skin abrasions. Rolling as you fall helps spread the impact over the bigger areas of your body. Many high-speed advanced skaters use this technique to reduce the impact of falls.
- Make sure to quickly return to your feet after every safe fall. This technique will train your brain for competitive skating disciplines where every second count.
Understanding the dynamics of a fall is equally important. Make sure you have appropriate protective gear as the very first step of preparing for a fall. Thoroughly understand and administer the basic techniques for maneuvering and stopping as per your skill levels to prevent and control the severity of falls.
Gather some awareness about common potential injuries like abrasions. You should also consider getting the basic information about the correct first-aid treatment for such injuries. Many times, skaters suffer minor injuries, but irrespective of the severity, no injury should be left unattended.
Include falls as a part of your training and practice well. Whenever you are about to witness a fall, simply bend your knees, lower your body, and roll to aside. Try to land on some padding on the side of your butt. Develop your core strength to control your landing position. Regular practice will help you gain confidence and overcome the fear of falling.